Somehow, when you think about having a salad for dinner, it’s easy to assume you’ll still be hungry once you’re finished. Well, if all you’re including in your dish is some lettuce, tomatoes, and a few veggies, then it probably will be—but that’s where filling salads come in. If you fill your bowl with the right ingredients that are packed with protein, antioxidants, and flavor, you’ll be totally satisfied and won’t need to snack between meals.
The trick is to make sure you’re not just eating a lot of kale or romaine, and water-based veggies like cucumber that won’t satiate your hunger. Hearty nuts, quinoa, and other grains; protein-packed eggs; and braised asparagus are just a few options of non-meat items that will help keep your belly full. Chicken, tuna, shrimp, and tofu are obviously all great add-ins as well. Instead of just winging it, it always helps to have recipes on hand, which is why we’ve rounded up our four favorite filling salads that are worthy of being the main dish. Scroll through, pick your favorite, and then start prepping.
Summer Abundance Salad
This is truly a summer salad if we ever did see one. Add chickpeas, quinoa, tomatoes, avocado, roasted corn, and arugula to start. Toasted nuts or seeds and feta cheese bring the saltiness, while a medley of fruit ups the sweetness factor (we’re talking about cherries, blueberries, and nectarines). This filling salad recipe is rounded out with a spicy honey balsamic vinaigrette, complete with fig preserves. Bonus points that the salad actually gets better when you leave it overnight—sounds like this might be the winning dish the next time you’re playing hostess.
CHOPPED THAI CHICKEN SALAD
We love that this filling salad doesn’t even contain lettuce—it relies on shredded cabbage, carrots, and papaya for the base. Slices of chicken breast pack on the protein, while cilantro and onions give it a slight kick. And did we mention the homemade peanut dressing? It’s made from a variety of ingredients you already have in the house—plus your favorite peanut butter.
ASIAN NIÇOISE SALAD
Is there anything more satisfying than seared tuna steaks? Maybe if they’re topped with sesame seeds and served in a salad with boiled potatoes, bell peppers, asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, black olives, and capers, and topped with a lemon-garlic-ginger vinaigrette. It may sound odd to top your greens with potatoes, but we’ve tried it, and it’s just so good—and helps keep you full longer. Speaking of keeping you full, hard-boiled eggs help with that as well.
KALE, LENTIL, AND ROASTED BEET SALAD
Let’s talk about how this filling salad actually has a whopping 16 grams of protein per serving—amazing. Plus, it’s super simple to prep and is made from kale, vegetable stock, green lentils, olive oil, beets, and leeks. Add in your go-to nuts or seeds for a bit of crunch, and then top with a savory-yet-sweet tahini dressing whipped up from sesame seed paste, lemon, maple syrup, and olive oil.
Do you have a go-to filling salad recipe? Up next, check out these salads with the best online reviews.